Following the recent announcement of an ERDF application to create a world-class glass heritage site in the Stourbridge Glass Quarter, the world of glass has been stunned by news of a bequest from one of its most ardent supporters.
Ian Dury, proprietor of Stourbridge Glass Engravers and 2012 Portland Vase Project Coordinator, has graciously offered the British Glass Foundation the entire collection of artefacts created in his 2012 venture, on permanent loan, as the centerpiece of the proposed new museum. Ian has informed the BGF that all of the pieces are now complete, and that, whilst he intends to retain overall ownership, he wishes them to be housed in the proposed new Museum as both a reminder of the area’s illustrious past and as an indicator of the talent still extant within the industry that will help secure its future.
Ian Dury says: "It was always my intention that these pieces should remain in Stourbridge in recognition of our glorious glass-making past and in testament to the skills that we still have in this area. The proposed new museum is the ideal home for them and I can think of no better custodians for these historic pieces than the BGF."
Chairman of BGF Trustees Graham Knowles says: "This is a simply amazing gesture from a man who has the experience and knowledge of the local glass industry to put his faith in the direction that the BGF hopes to take it into the 21st Century. It is not only us who are grateful; the entire world of glass will appreciate the sheer magnitude of this bequest and what it represents. Thank you, Ian."
The Portland Vase is one of the most enigmatic pieces of Roman cameo glass the world has ever seen. It is over 2000 years old and now housed in the British Museum. It was replicated in the 19th Century by Stourbridge craftsmen, who rediscovered techniques that had been lost for centuries. This led to a worldwide explosion in the demand for cameo glass, and represented the Stourbridge Glass industry at its zenith. In 2012, a team led by Ian Dury of Stourbridge Glass Engravers, replicated not only the Portland Vase and its base-plate, but also the Roman Auldjo Jug and various other items of cameo glass that are themselves destined to become of great historical significance in the ongoing story of Stourbridge Glass.
The British Glass Foundation is an enabling body bringing together all relevant and independent glass and cultural organisations and private individuals, in a common aim to protect and save the glass, archive and technical collections at Broadfield House Glass Museum, and to ensure their future display to the public, access for research and continued growth.